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perform the whole gamut of oratorical and risible music: and as there is a kind of humourous laughter, which draws all others into it's own vortex, I need not here assert, that I would have this branch very much inculcated.
Neither is this instrument of importance in dispute alone, or controversy; but wherever one man's faculties are more prone to laughter than another's. Trifles will burst one man's sides, which will not disturb the features of another; and a laugh one cannot join, is almost as irksome as a lamentation. It is like a peal rung after a wedding; where a whole parish shall be stunned with noise, because they want that occasion to rejoice, which the persons, at least, imagine to be their lot, that occasioned it. The sounds are pleasing to their ears, who find them conformable to their own ideas; but those who are not in temper, or unconcerned, find them a stupifying repetition. When, therefore, my mind is not in tune with another's, what strikes his, will not vibrate on mine. All I then have to do, is to counterfeit a laugh; which is an operation as artificial, as the machine I have beeu describing.
THE HISTORY OF DON PEDRO ****.
The actions of our lives, even those we call most important, seem as much subject to trifles, as our very lives themselves. We frame many notable projects in imagination, and promise to ourselves an equal term of life. It is, however, in the power of the minutest accident, to shorten the one, and disconcert the other. It is with mankind as with certain fire-engines, whose motion may be stopped, in the midst of it's rapidity, by the interposition of a straw in a particular part of them.
The following translation from the original Spanish, will sufficiently illustrate the foregoing assertion. Don Pedro **** was one of the principal grandees of his age and country. He had a genius equal to his birth, and a disposition remarkably contemplative. It was his custom, on this account, to retire from the world at stated periods, and to indulge himself in all the mazes of a fine imagination. It happened as he one day sate in his study, that he fixed his eye on a neighbouring spider. The most trivial object (if any natural object can be termed so) served bim frequently for the foundation of some moral and sublime reflection. He surveyed the creature attentively, and indulged the bias of his thought, till he was lost in the excursions of a profound reverie. The curious workmanship of this unregarded animal brought at once into his mind the whole art of fortification. He observed the deficiency of human skill, and that no cunning could have contrived her so proper a habitation. He found that no violence could affect the extremities of her lines but what was immediately perceptible, and liable to alarm her at the centre. He observed the road by which she sallied forth, served to convey intelligence from without, at the same time that it added strength and stability to the work within. He was at once surprised and pleased with an object which, altho' common, he happened not to have beheld in the same light, or with the same attention. From this instant he bent his thoughts on the advancement of military fortification: and be often would declare it was thi. trivial incident that gave him a relish for that study, which he afterwards pursued with such application and success.
He spent, in short, so much time on the attainment of this science, that he grew as capable of executing any part of it, as speculation alone could render him. Nothing wanted now, but practice to complete the fame of his abilities. That, in short, was his next pursuit. He became desirous of experiencing, what had been so successful in inagination: and to make those mural sallies, which had been attended there with victory. To this end he had little to do, but to excite the ambition of his young monarch; to enforce, by testimony of his friends, his qualifications for the post he sought; and, on the first delivery of his petition, to obtain preferment from the king. This happened to be a time of the profoundest tranquillity; little agreeable to a person eager of glory, furnished with skill, and conscious of abilities. Such was this ingenious nobleman. He well knew the ambition of princes, and of his monarch in particular.
But he was not acquainted with his own. That imperious and subtle passion is often most predominant when it is Jeast perceived. When it once prevails, in any great degree, we find our reason grow subservient, and, instead of checking or contradicting, it stoops to flatter and to authorize it. Instead of undeceiving, she confirms us in our error; and even levels the mounds, and smooths the obstructions, which it is her natural province to interpose. This was the case of Don Pedro. The delicacy of his taste encreased his sensibility; and his sensibility made him more a slave. The mind of man, like the finer parts of matter, the more delicate it is, naturally adinits the more deep,
and the more visible impressions. The purest spirits are the soonest apt to take flame. Let us therefore be the inore candid to him, on account of the vivacity of his passions, seduced, as indeed he was, into very unwarrantable schemes.
He had, in brief, conceived a project, to give his master an universal monarchy. He had calculated every article with the utmost labour and precision, and intended, within a few days; to resent his project to the king.
Spain was then in a state of affluence; had a large army on foot; together with means and opportunities of raising an immense one. It were inpossible to answer for the possible events, that might destroy their hopes of such an enterprize. Difficulty often attends the execution of things the most feasible and well contrived in theory. But whoever was acquainted with the author of this project, knew the posture of affairs in Europe at that time, the ambition of the prince, and the many circumstances that conspired to favour it, might have thought the project would have been agreed to, put in practice, and, without some particular interposition of fortune, been attended with success. But fortune did not put herself to any particular trouble about the matter. Don Pedro, big with vast designs, was one day walking in his fields. He was promised next morning an audience of the king. He was preparing bimself for a conversation, which might prove of so much consequence to all mankind; when walking thoughtfully along, and regardless of his path, his foot happened to stumble and to overern an ant's nest. He cast bis eyes on the ground to see the occasion of his mistake, where he spied the little animals in the most miserable confusion. He had the delicacy of sentiment, to be really sorry for what he had done; and, putting himself in their condition, began to reflect on the consequence. It might be an age to them ere they could recover their tranquillity. He viewed them with a sort of smile, to find the anxiety they underwent for such perishable habitations. Yet he considered that his contempt was only the effect of his own superiority; and that there might be some created beings to whom his own species must appear as trifling. His remark did not cease here.
He considered his future enterprize, with an eye to such a race of beings. He found it must appear to them in a light as disadvantageous, as the ambition, and vain-glory of an ant would, to himself. How ridiculous, he said, must this republic appear to me, could I discern it's actions, as it has probably many, that are analogous to those of human nature ! Suppose them at continual variance about the property of a grain of sand. Suppose one that had acquired a few sands more to his portion—as also one grain of wheat, and one small particle of barley-flour--should think himself qualified to tyrannize over his equals, and to lord it, uncontrouled. Consider him, on this account, not contented to make use of the numerous legs with which nature has supplied him, borne aloft by a couple of slaves within the hollow of a husk of wheat, five or six others, at the same time, attending solemnly on the procession. Suppose lastly, that among this people, the prime minister should persuade the rest to levy war on a neighbouring colony; and this in order to be stiled the sovereign of two hillocks, instead of one; while, perhaps their present condition leaves them nothing to wish besides superfluities. At the same time it is in the power of